Panama is world-famous for its 48-mile canal that connects the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean. Each year, over a million people visit the canal and are able to witness this engineering marvel at work. Panama is very proud to have this magnificent creation operating 365 days a year, enabling the world's cargo to be shipped efficiently and safely to new destinations.
Everyone wants the inside scoop on Casco Viejo, Panama's most charismatic neighborhood. Today, Casco Viejo (aka. Casco Antiguo, San Felipe or El Casco) is a vibrant community consisting of a sharp contrast of old and new, local and foreign. The buildings are in various stages or redevelopment and renovation, with a strictly enforced standard of Historical Authenticity. There is tremendous culture and a feeling which is unique only to this neighborhood in Panama.
Declared World Heritage by UNESCO, it was founded in 1519. Panama was the first city built on the Pacific Ocean coast during the Spanish colonial period in America. Its geographical position turned it into a golden transit point and the fabulous treasures of the American continent were sent to Spain and, therefore, it was also a coveted booty for pirates. In 1671, the city was sacked and destroyed by the famous pirate Henry Morgan. Today is a place visited by all those who wish to relive with imagination that distant era of mythical heroes and villains.
Bolívar Square lies at the center of Manizales and is surrounded by the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Governor’s Palace, among other buildings. In the square you can admire Bolívar Condor, a sculpture made in tribute to Simón Bolívar made by Rodrigo Arenas Betancourt, as well as ceramic murals by local artist Guillermo Botero.
This is a historical castle built in the seventeenth century to protect the residents of Maracaibo from pirate attacks. It was the time when the city was attacked by pirates more often. Later, this castle was used for different purposes in different eras. In the nineteenth century, the Venezuelan army used it for military purposes. Then during Juan Vicenre Gomez’s dictatorship, it served as a prisoner for political antagonists. The government declared the Castillo de San Carlos de le Barra a National Historic Landmark in 1965.
The first fort to be erected in Port Royal was Fort Charles. It was built in the late 1650-60 and was originally called Fort Cromwell but was renamed Fort Charles. The fort underwent several changes between 1656 -1670. In 1667, the fort had 36 guns and by 1765 it had 104 guns and a garrison with 500 men.
One of the oldest and most historic regions of the country, Port Royal has maintained much of its independence as well as its heritage. Once the enclave of pirates and other outlaws, there is still a strong seafaring tradition. Much of the old city, described in the 17th century as the "wickedest city in the west", lies underwater beside the town, the result of an earthquake that in 1692 swallowed about two-thirds of the then-living space. Since then, another earthquake in 1907, numerous hurricanes, fires, and various population-decimating diseases have plagued the town. Despite all, the waters around Port Royal are a virtual archaeological gold mine, filled with pieces of history that tell of everyday life in the earliest days of English occupation. Port Royal is also home to the Archaeological Division of the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), which recently completed a sonar survey of the underwater city, revealing a sunken pirate ship in the Kingston Harbour. To date thousands of artefacts have been recovered, and there are plans to develop a local museum to showcase these items once the research on them is complete.
Liberty Hall located at 76 King Street, Kingston was the centre of activities for the Kingston division of The U.N.I.A. It was acquired in 1923 for eight hundred pounds sterling (£800). The two-storey building was the first meeting hall in Jamaica that was fully owned and operated by blacks. It was the home to plays, concerts, dances, elocution pieces, adult and children's choirs. One famous play, which took place here, was the "Slave Ship", which recaptured the horrors of the Middle Passage.
Liberty Hall was so named because of Garvey's great admiration for the Irish independence movement and the Irish Transport and General Workers Union whose headquarters in Dublin was named Liberty Hall in 1912. It was at this place, described as "the fortress of the militant working class of Ireland" that many plans were made for Irish self-determination, and Garvey saw the U.N.I.A struggle as being akin to that of the Irish.
Liberty Hall is decked in colours red, black and green, which are of much significance. The red denotes the blood of the Negro race nobly shed in the past and dedicated to the future; black represents the colour of the skin and green represents a promise of a better life in Africa. This monument stands as a proud reminder to all Jamaicans, and indeed to all visitors of the works and achievements of the great visionary and National Hero the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
The Culture Yard today hosts a small museum which presents the phenomenal history of Trench Town along with articles, instruments and furnishing used by Tata Ford, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. The original 1940's buildings have been restored to their former glory and the site is truly a heritage tourism destination.
24 Tucker Avenue is the former residence of the late Sir Alexander Bustamante. In 1940 Bustamante was held in detention at Up Park Camp for allegedly inciting workers to protest against low wages and poor working conditions. From this location he instructed his attorneys from the legal firm Judah and Randall, to build a home on the half-acre of land he had brought in 1939.
Bustamante's attorneys had the house completed within a year and around the same time Bustamante was released from detention camp. The house was at first rented for a couple of years before it was occupied by Bustamante. The building is a contemporary style 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom concrete house with a combined hip and gable end and timber shingle roof finish. Louvre windows are reflected throughout the design, with the exception of the pivoted sash windows of the bathrooms.
This Tucker Avenue home now has its place in Jamaica's history because a National Hero lived there and because of the eventful conferences which took place there.
The house is now open to the public as the Bustamante Museum and consists of a multimedia exhibition with artifacts on display.
Visit with Jamaica's Rastafari people. Warm and welcoming, they are happy to share with you their values of equality, healthy living and connectedness with nature.
Located just outside Montego Bay, Rastafari Indigenous Village is a living cultural center that offers you an opportunity to experience the Rastafari way of life. Whether you choose a half or full-day tour, you'll have the unique opportunity to connect with Rastafarians and learn more about their culture and values. You'll be introduced to drum makers who create traditional drums by hand, using techniques that have been passed down through generations. You can tour an organic vegetable and herb garden and learn more about why the Rastafari choose to follow a vegan diet, and what are its benefits. You can then have a meal with the Rastafari, and taste for yourself. A small store offers traditional handicrafts and jewellery. The tour concludes with a performance of traditional drumming and singing in the center of the village.
Discover the unique heritage and culture of Cayman via this lovingly restored window into the 18th century that’s only a 20-minute drive from George Town.
At a time in the Cayman Islands when most people lived in tiny, thatch-covered houses, a wealthy Englishman, using slave labour from Jamaica, created an astonishing 3-storey building called Pedro St. James.
In the 1990s, the Government of the Cayman Islands purchased Pedro St. James and painstakingly restored the Great House to the splendour of its 18th-century heritage.
Today, visitors can stroll through the imposing edifice with its period furniture and authentic artefacts to experience what life was like so long ago in Cayman’s history.
The first lighthouse on Grand Cayman was erected at Gun Bluff in the early 1900s, which is approximately a half-mile from the present site of the East End Lighthouse Park. This was required under the Justices and Vestry’s East End Light Law (1906). A 60-foot ship’s mast stood on the Bluff and William James Watler was hired as a lightkeeper to ensure that a kerosene lantern was hoisted to the top of the mast at 6:00pm every evening and lowered at 6:00am every morning. A fine “not exceeding forty shillings” was to be imposed on him if it was discovered that he had been lax in his duties. The light could be seen 10 miles out to sea.
The lighthouse at Gorling Bluff served until 1937, when the British Government gave order for five modern “navigational lights” to be erected around the coasts of all three Cayman Islands. The lights were to be placed on Crown Property, however, so that same year the Crown acquired Gorling Bluff. The replacement lighthouse was constructed by Mr. Morell from England, and it is this light which serves to the present day, though it is now solar-powered. Part of the wooden frame of the previous lighthouse remains, but the old kerosene lamp is now in the Cayman Islands National Museum.
In the past, Fort George used to defend Grand Cayman from attacks by Spanish marauders from Cuba; though piracy on the high seas was over by this time, there was still frequent lawless activity.
The fort was also used as a coastal lookout for enemy ships as recently as World War II. Despite its small size, Grand Cayman was said to have had both German and British spies present during World War II, and a US Naval base was set up in the area behind the George Town Public Library. Caymanians did much to aid the allied efforts and several also enlisted in Trinidad to support the British during the war.
Located in the heart of Belize City, St. John’s Cathedral is one of the few physical legacies of the long period as a British colony. Built in 1812 as the Church of England’s headquarters in Central America, the cathedral was once used to crown four different native kings of the Miskito tribe in lavish ceremonies matching the pomp and circumstances of coronations in Europe. Today, the cathedral is the oldest surviving building constructed by Europeans in Belize.
Using the enormous ballast stones brought over from Europe, English colonizers in what was then known as British Honduras erected the mighty St. John’s Cathedral as the power base of the Church of England in Central America. Visitors today can marvel at the well-preserved architecture made from sapodilla and mahogany wood, an antique pipe organ and tombstones of English colonists from the earliest days of the settlement of Belize City.
Father of Belize's Independence 1981 and Founder of the City of Belmopan 1970.
A man who has dedicated fifty eight years of his life to the Government and people of Belize.
As First Minister, he initiated the process for Belize to become an independent country, which finally occurred in 1981. After independence, Price became the first Prime Minister of Belize and served in various government posts until 1996. In 2000, Price became the first person to be given the Order of National Hero, the highest honor in Belize.
The Citadelle Laferrière is a mountaintop fortress, located on the northern coast of Haiti - on the top of mountain Bonnet a L’Eveque.
Depicted on local currency, stamps and postcards, this amazing structure has become the symbol of Haiti’s power and independence. It was built at the beginning of the 19th century by one of the leaders of Haiti’s slave revolution. The Citadelle Laferrière is also known simply as the Citadelle or as Citadelle Henri Christophe in the honour of its creator.
The Citadelle is referred by locals as the Eighth Wonder of the World and in 1982 it was nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This massive stone construction is the largest fortress in the Americas. Built to demonstrate the power of the newly independent Haiti, the Citadelle Laferrière was essential for the security of Haiti’s newly formed state.
Henri Christophe is also the one who ordered the construction of this palace. Although in ruins today, its remnants explain the extent of the territory on which it was built. Two earthquakes (1842 & 1843) seriously destroyed it.
This colossal monument was the personal residence of Henri Christophe and was divided into four sections including the King's apartments (Henri Christophe), left pavilion, the Queen's apartments and large stables. It even had a barracks, a hospital, a print shop and more. According to the hearsay, the style of the palace was to compete with the castle of Versailles.
Visit the first military fort in the continent and discover more about the Colonial history of Santo Domingo.
Erected in front of the mouth of the Ozama River, the Santo Domingo Fortress or Fortaleza Ozama Fortress is the first military construction in the Colony, and one of the World Heritage jewels in the Colonial Area.
The simple and solid construction was built by the Spaniards between 1502 and 1507 at the request of the governor Nicolás de Ovando, providing it with a Medieval style. However, during the following centuries, the place was modified and extended until it became an interesting building that you can see today. The main purpose of its construction was to defend the city from the attacks of British, Portuguese and French conquerors, as well as from the pillage of pirates.
Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle in Old Havana, Cuba, one of Cuba’s most ancient castles. It is a great sample of military architecture during the Spain's rule over the Caribbean. It is located in the Plaza de Armas Square in Old Havana facing the sea. The Castle, as well as the rest of the old city’s fortifications, has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Castillo de la Real Fuerza Castle is the oldest fortress still preserved in all the Americas. It was built between 1558 and 1577, in the same location where a fort was destroyed by French pirates in 1555. The west tower is crowned by the copy of a well-known bronze weathervane called La Giraldilla. The original was made in Havana in 1630 and is quite similar to the Giralda of Seville.
Castillo de los Tres Santos Reyes del Morro (Morro Castle) was erected between 1589 and 1630 to protect the mouth of the Havana port from pirates and invaders. The fortress stands on a rocky promontory known as El Morro, over the Atlantic. It was the King of Spain who ordered the castle to be built and appointed Juan de Texeda, a field commander, and Batista Antonelli, a military architect, to lead the works. The castle was originally planned to have an irregular polygonal shape, with three-meter-thick walls and deep moats.
The castle is an perfect example of renaissance military architecture, and is endowed with an harmonic elegance that melds with its natural surroundings through a series of terraces fused to the rock.
Nowadays, the castle offers impressive views of the sea and Havana. The lighthouse that crowns its tower was added in 1844 and helps guide ships docking in the port.
Chichen Itza is probably the most important city of the Mayan Culture in the Yucatan peninsula and has the most amazing buildings of any other Mayan ancient cities. Chichen Itza is also the largest and most impressive of the Mayan ruins, is an spectacular and mystical place to visit, if you only want to do one day trip during your vacation in Cancun, this should be this one.
Chichen-Itza (chee-chehn eet-sah) in Maya, was a sacred city of the Itza and the name literally means: "Mouth of the well of the Itza". Located 75 miles east of Merida, the capital of the State of Yucatan, Mexico; it covers an area of approximately six square miles where hundreds of buildings once stood. Now most are mounds but more than thirty may still be seen by tourists.
The ruins of Chichen Itza are divided into two groups. One group belongs to the classic Maya Period and was built between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D., at which time the city became a prominent ceremonial center. The other group corresponds to the Maya-Toltec Period, from the later part of the 10th century to the beginning of the 13th century A.D. This area includes the Sacred Well and most of the outstanding ruins.
Old San Juan, the most popular cruise destination in the Caribbean, is far from a cookie cutter vacation spot. Old San Juan is special in every way, known for it’s rich history, five century old forts, romantic ambiance, Old World elegance, exquisite food, and festive atmosphere.
A modern day world marvel, it’s worth the journey down south to the Coral Castle Museum in Homestead. As a tribute to his long lost love, a tiny Latvian immigrant who only weighed 100 pounds, moved and sculpted more than 1,000 tons of coral rock for nearly 30 years, until the project was completed in 1951. The feat has baffled scientists and engineered for years.
Since 1923 Scientists, Engineers, Scholars continue to be amazed! See a hand-carved 9-ton gate, a Polaris telescope, the world’s only Sundial with seasons. Enjoy a movie short about the mysteries of Coral Castle, its creator; Edward Leedskalnin. Relax at the Coral Castle Café and enjoy the delicious gourmet menu. Visit the unique gift shop with Coral Castle collectables, science, natural stones, jewelry and much more!
Hidden in modern North Miami Beach, the Ancient Spanish Monastery takes us back. An enclave of European architecture and history, this Florida Heritage site—which was originally built in Sacramenia, a municipality of Segovia in northern Spain—has endured a long and interesting history to become the South Florida monument we know and love today.
“The Ancient Spanish Monastery is a little piece of Spanish history,” says Father Gregory Mansfield, Curator of the Ancient Spanish Monastery Museum & Gardens. “Construction began in 1133 AD, almost 360 years before Columbus left Spain and arrived in the Americas, and it took eight years to complete. There are over 35,000 stones, some of which weigh a ton and a half.”
In the 21st century, the Ancient Spanish Monastery serves as both a peek into history and a tourist attraction. At the entrance to the property, there’s a museum with historic Spanish artifacts like a hymnarium and pieces of armor worn during the Crusades. In that same building, there is also a gift shop with souvenirs available for purchase.
Pigeon Island National Landmark is heralded as one of the most important monuments of Saint Lucia’s history. It is a vivid representation of the cultural and historical monuments of international, civil, military and marine cross currents, characteristic of West Indian historical change. A living museum within a natural setting, Pigeon Island is being nurtured through careful protection and intelligent development to serve the intellectual, cultural and recreational needs of all who visit this historic site. The picturesque, 44 acre island reserve, off the North West, was originally surrounded by water but was joined to the mainland by a man-made causeway in 1972. Recognizing the need to secure this site where the balance of late eighteenth century naval power was decided, the Government of Saint Lucia designated Pigeon Island as a National Park in 1979 and as a National Landmark in 1992. Pigeon Island National Landmark has a number of heritage attractions and amenities which include: Ruins of military buildings used during the battles between the French and the British for the island of Saint Lucia; Two beautiful beaches; A restaurant featuring local cuisine; A pub and restaurant with a historical theme and a lookout point at the top of the Fort which gives a panoramic view of the Northwest coastline.
Fully restored to its original splendor, the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century buildings of the Dockyard house modern amenities such as shops, hotels, and marina businesses. Outside the dockyard, historic forts dot the landscape of the park accessible by hiking trails which allow visitors to enjoy the park's scenic and natural beauty.
The Henry B. Plant Museum is housed in the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, the Victorian railroad resort that defined the elegant frontier, now a National Historic Landmark. Unlike most museums dedicated to lifestyles of the past, it contains the actual furnishings enjoyed by the first guests to visit here. The Museum accurately reflects the opulence of turn-of-the-century America and the vision of American transportation pioneer, Henry B. Plant.
The Museum seeks to transport the visitor through educational exhibits and events to the late Victorian period, the beginning of Florida’s tourist industry, and the early years of the city of Tampa.
The Martello Tower is situated on the south coast of Barbuda. It was built in the early 1800s as a defence base for the British, to stand guard over the river landing, the island’s original quay.
Its name was derived from a tower Cape Martella in Corsica, that the British had difficulty in taking in 1974.
The current fort was erected on the site of a preexisting fort, presumed to have been built by the Spanish, dating back to 1745. The 32-foot tall tower commands great views over most of the island.
The fort, which was once armed with three guns, is placed near a small stream which only appeared in wet weather.
Once the site of a beautiful mansion built by Sir Graham Briggs for the entertainment of royalty including King George V in 1879, today Farley Hill has been designated a national park by Barbadian Government. And though the mansion itself was destroyed by fire in 1965, the gutted remains still stand and provide an ideal setting for a picnic and a day of fun in the park, while offering stunning views of the island’s southern point.
This venue is somewhat magical, tucked away in the North of Barbados is St. Nicholas Abbey! This historical plantation boasts beautiful Jacobean architecture and lush surroundings.
St. Nicholas Abbey’s great house, built by Benjamin Berringer in 1658, is one of just three Jacobean style mansions remaining in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the finest historic sites in Barbados. Its 350-year history is filled with colourful tales of murder, love and intrigue; its owners have played pivotal roles in both Barbadian and American history.
Located in the hills of St. Peter, St. Nicholas Abbey encompasses over 400 acres of undulating sugar cane fields, lush tropical gullies, mahogany forests and formal gardens filled with hibiscus, roses, orchids and fruit trees.
The St. Nicholas Abbey Heritage Railway, completed in late 2018, is the newest family attraction at St. Nicholas Abbey Great House Plantation and Distillery. Journey through the plantation’s grounds on our beautiful steam locomotive!
Also you can take a guided tour of the Great House, circa 1650 and museum, viewing of a 1930s movie of life on the plantation, and complimentary beverage. Personal tour of the Factory, Steam Mill circa 1890 and Distillery “Annabelle” with Mr. Larry Warren, Owner and Distiller.
At Dudley Farm, a one-of-a-kind authentic 325-acre working “Cracker” farm, you will see the evolution of North Florida farming through the eyes of three generations of the Dudley family; from the pioneer days circa 1850 through the introduction of gasoline-powered equipment circa 1945.
Dudley Farm Historic State Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Some highlights include a visitor center, park staff in period clothing performing chores, production and harvest of heritage crop varieties and sugar cane, raising of heritage livestock varieties including Cracker cows and Barred Rock chickens, family farmhouse with original furnishings, general store and post office, 1880s kitchen outbuilding, cane syrup complex with autumn cane grinding, boiling, bottling, seasonal corn shucking, nature trail and picnic area.
It is a small but charming “Magical Town”, just 4 hours away from Acapulco, nestled in an area surrounded by great hills and mountains, thanks to the intense exploitation of its silver deposits. Its people still live from the commerce and manufacture of objects that the precious metal alloys; the baroque constructions raised during the mining boom of the Colony are still preserved.
Any terrace is good to contemplate those jewels of the past, the new and small must be sought among the cobbled streets that go up and down everywhere. In addition, Taxco has a peculiar beauty, because this magnificent Magical Town has the ability to transport us to another time and space, just to the time of colonial Mexico.
Its beautiful cobblestone streets are characterized by its inclination, and almost all of them lead to beautiful little squares where it is possible to walk, visit the kiosk or sit on one of their benches.
*The Monumental Clock of Pachuca, created with white quarry and with similar equipment of Big Ben, the clock marks the centenary of the Independence of Mexico and was inaugurated on September 15, 1910.